But the researchers hope their efforts to track the young male, designated M56, will help explain why only an estimated 250 to 500 wolverines remain in the lower 48 states and what their fate might be in the face of development and climate change.
… If any animal could survive in the Rocky Mountain West, one would think it would be the wolverine. The largest land-dwelling member of the weasel family, it is strong, tenacious, sharp-toothed and cunning. Although adult wolverines typically weigh only about 30 pounds, they are stocky and bearlike, and easily prey on far larger animals like sheep.
But wolverines could not survive the trappers who prized their almost waterproof fur, the ranchers who killed them with poison bait and the developers who divided their range with highways and other infrastructure.